Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Beauty of Box Sets

This summer has been an epic one for collecting free books and cheap-as-chips box sets. My kindle is stuffed. Overflowing, and with good stuff too. I don’t know where to start.

It's a nice problem to have, I’m not complaining. 

The reasons for such an embarrassment of smutty literature richness are straightforward enough. We authors like to get our stuff out there, dangle our deliciousness before new and potentially admiring audiences, attract new readers who might buy something down the line. If that means selling a book dirt cheap or giving it away, we will. Business is business.

So, about those box sets…

It’s always good to be able to stick a New York Times best-selling author badge on your book covers, not to mention the warm glow provided by such an accolade. It’s a fact that as relatively small players in the publishing pond most of us can’t command the massive advertising budgets required to elevate our latest book to the lofty heights of NY Times or USA Today stardom. So, linking up with a ton of other writers to produce a box set is one way to go. Pack it with good novellas, ideally with a couple of big(ish) names in there, and sell it for 99 cents. Everyone involved promotes like mad, the pre-orders go through the roof, and lo and behold, come the glorious day of general release the set hits the lists. Everyone with a story in there gets a badge. Job done. If it actually makes any money, that’s a bonus. The point was to hit the list and gain new readers.

The one time I joined in one of these gigs (the Bound, Spanked and Loved anthology, for Valentine’s Day 2015) we managed to hit the NY Times list and the royalties were OK. I got back what it cost me to pay for the editing and my share of the promo. I was well pleased. And I love having that badge on my website, covers, anywhere I can stick it, really.

Two box sets have stood out for me this year. Here are my own top picks from the many on offer...

The first, Black Light: Valentine Roulette is a clever collection of linked stories set in a BDSM club. Independently published, this set pushed the boundaries rather a lot, which I appreciate. Stories included breath play, water sports, cell popping – areas often frowned on by mainstream publishers as too intense, dangerous maybe. I loved it, and the writing was pretty stellar too.

 Three hours. Four hard limits. Eight sexy stories.
              Are you brave enough to spin the wheel?

Get ready to explore some of your naughtiest desires while you celebrate Valentine’s Day with eight kinky stories from eight USA Today and international bestselling authors! Black Light is the most exclusive BDSM club in Washington, D.C. and for one night they’re changing the rules of play to entertain their members with a game of chance – Valentine Roulette. Challenge and adventure awaits as these sexy dominants spin to win their submissives, and the subs spin to choose how they will play. Their prize if they last the night? One free month at Black Light, and for some of our daring participants… even a chance at love.

My other favourite, Royally Mine, is a collection of 22 novellas all featuring ‘royal’ heroes. On occasion the link to royalty is somewhat tenuous, but I’m a forgiving reader if the story is good, and these are for the most part. I’ve sampled some new (to me) writers, which is always a bonus and enjoyed connecting with several of my existing favourites too. This one has kept me happy all summer and has a good few hours of sizzle left in it yet.

Powerful kings. Dirty-talking princes. Insatiable dukes.
They're ready to rule your heart.

Royally Mine is a collection of bad boy romances featuring HOT royal heroes, brought to you by twenty-two New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors. This deliciously naughty bundle of ALL-NEW standalone novellas stars panty-scorching kings, princes, and dukes who are used to being in command. Charge up your e-reader, clear your schedule, and put on your best tiara, because these royal bad boys are ready to conquer your heart while making you blush oh so hard.


  1. I had to look up "cell popping". Learn something every day...!

    To be honest, I avoid boxed sets. I really feel that this trend has depressed prices for the rest of us.

    Meanwhile everyone claims to be a best selling NY Times author these days... so who cares? The value of such a badge has shrunk to close to nothing.

    However, the Valentine's roulette book does sound interesting. Getting a group of authors to write in the same world is quite a difficult feat to accomplish.

  2. Hmmm... I never thought of teaming up with others that way. Sort of a big, self-pubbed anthology. I'm so out of the loop.

    That Valentine set is tempting.

    But. Ummm... Aren't you out of sequence, Ashe? My calendar says you post next Tuesday.

  3. I wonder whether books in boxed sets are as likely to actually get read as those acquired singly. Something about all that reading material coming at once feels kind of daunting to me. Admittedly, I'm easily daunted even by books acquired singly when they stack up in my TBR folder.

  4. It's interesting to hear about your experience with box sets! I tend away from them, as a reader and as a writer, because I find them overwhelming. As a reader, I actually prefer serials, where I pay a chapter at a time. I don't mind if I wind up paying more than I would if I bought the whole thing at once. I find I'm more likely to read a book when I acquire it that way. We have very different taste, clearly!


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